The Melbourne chapter of the BirdLife Photography Group had an outing at Newport Lakes and The Jawbones Reserve.
With a little overcast weather, but still plenty of heat around the humidity was pretty high. Newport Lakes started out in early days as a quarry for bluestone, and then was used as the local rubbish tip for many years. Due to some heavy duty lobbying in the mid 1970s the area was slowly reclaimed as an environmental area, and much work was done to restore the area and the lakes gave the water birds a new opportunity.
So we walked around the lake. My Flickr friend Eleanor turned up, so it was great to put a face to a name, and have the chance to have a chat about our various images. Down the track we walked and then sitting in the quiet of a small clump of scrub was a Rufous Night Heron (formerly Nankeen Night Heron). Try as we might it had managed to find the only spot on the waterway that was completely inaccessible for a good line of sight shot. Clever bird. Agitated by all the attention it finally decided that tree top height was safer.
We then set out across the large rocks that divide the lake and off in the distance an Australasian Darter and some Cormorants were visible in the old trees out in the water. Swamp-hens that seem completely people adapted pushed past on the rocks, hurrying to the other side. And a Little Pied Cormorant took advantage of the only pole near the rocks to preen and to pose in the sunshine. It probably felt confident by the couple of metres of water between it and the curious photographers.
Further round a much better sighting of the Darter, and then it was time for morning tea, a bird count, and on to the Jawbones for lunch.
Dark ominous clouds threatened rain, but we sat under the shade of some sheoaks and watched the water birds while we ate lunch and chatted. Then back to the cameras and bird spotting. Find of the day was probably four Great-crested Grebes. They took great delight in paddling to the opposite bank anytime someone came within good photo distance. Quite a number of numbered swans with their collars showing, and a particularly big male whose collar seemed much to small for him when he fluffed out his neck feathers and performed for the local lads. No one seemed to challenge him.
I was pleased to enter the data on the Myswan database when I got home and see that some of the swans led quite a mobile life up and down the bay, whereas others were much more the stay at homes.
In the end the heat, the humidity and other pressing duties made; us bid farewell, to The Jawbones. “Gateway to the South”, (apologies to Peter Sellers, Denis Norden and Frank Muir: “Balham”.
Cunningly hidden away from direct line of sight on the creek bank this Rufous Night Heron was settling in for a well deserved sleep
No, I don’t do autographs.
Purple Swan-hen webbed foot dashing past.
You need to speak to my agent. Little Pied Cormorant at rest.
Now you know why they are also called “Snake Birds”.
Armed for a day out along the Jawbones track. Part of the photo group set out.
Practicing for its part in the up coming version of Swan Lake.
I’m available, and every other male is not welcome. W26 shows his stuff. The Collar is only tight as his neck feathers are extended in the show of strength.
Quite the get about is our unattached W26.